Fruity Fun at Frankies

You only have to drive through Waimanalo once to know that it's filled with plant nurseries. With nearly every telephone pole stapled with homemade plant sale flyers and arrows pointing you in all directions, we plant lovers have a heard time resisting this treasure box of green goodies.

Deep in Waimanalo, at the base of the Koolau mountains, you'll find one of our favorite nurseries: Frankie's. The long driveway lined with a mixed bag of fruit trees is an appropriate introduction to what you can expect at this one-of-a-kind local gem. Specializing in tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees, the owners travel bi-annually to various countries seeking new species of fruit that will successfully grow in Hawai'i.

Frankie, himself, grafting baby avocado trees.

Frankie, himself, grafting baby avocado trees.

After 30+ years of business, it's no surprise that Frankie and his family have developed an affinity for the most unique, rare fruits available. And as humble as they seem, the people of Frankie's Nursery are more than ready for you to rack their brains and answer any questions you might have about every fruit from Wax Jambu to Rambutan. 

Jackfruit on shelves. 

Jackfruit on shelves. 

That being said, what we're really hear to tell you about has nothing to do with buying fruit trees. Although walking the grounds is an absolute must, our favorite part of Frankie's can be found right at the main house, where you're taken to at check out. 


In a small patio area lined with metal tables and bins, you'll be surrounded by fruits harvested from the nursery. Unlike your typical fruit stand selling coconuts and pineapples, Frankie's prides themselves in selling every fruit you've never heard of.

Mangosteen on table.

Mangosteen on table.

Even the fruit that appears to be more common, like mango, are probably a rare variety that you never knew existed. Of course they are, it's Frankie's! 

Boxed pitaya/dragonfruit. 

Boxed pitaya/dragonfruit. 

Keitt mangos in tray. 

Keitt mangos in tray. 

Pineapple tops being prepped for planting. 

Pineapple tops being prepped for planting. 

Dwarf wi apple in basket

Dwarf wi apple in basket


By Kenna Reed
Photos by Kenna Reed shot on a Contax T3


A Hop Over to the Big Island

We took a trekk over to the Big Island last week to visit our favorite protea farm and do some exploring.  Although protea are most prolific in the winter, there were many blooms popping their bright heads out, in addition to groves of sweetly scented eucalyptus and wax flower.  After a lovely day of lunch and roaming the grounds with our farmers, we headed up to Volcano National Park for some adventuring in the tree ferns. 

Photographer Mariko Reed was along on this trip to gather images for an upcoming book with Paiko's Tamara Rigney (to be released next spring through Paiko Press- stay tuned for more info!)

paiko protea
paiko protea 1
paiko mariko reed
paiko banksia
paiko ferns
paiko hilo

photos and story by Tamara Rigney

Botanical Basics: Anthurium brownii

If you’ve been into the shop lately, you’ve probably noticed that Paiko has been overflowing with plants. We wanted to take the time to introduce you to one of our sexiest and easiest plants to take care of:  Anthurium brownii.

These anthuriums prefer wet, tropical environments, so it's to no surprise that they can be found from Costa Rica to Columbia. It also shouldn't be a surprise then, that Hawai'i makes an ideal habitat for them.  Anthurium brownii can be identified by its striking, ruffled, yellow veined leaves, and long spindly flowers. These aren't the type of anthurium flowers you spot at the farmers market.

This active guy flowers and fruits year round. The blooms are composed of a long protruding spadix covered in spirals of minuscule "flowers," and spathe, a leaf-like bract that hangs down beneath the spadix.   When the bloom is fresh, you  may also notice tiny (roughly 5 mm wide) "fruit" varying in color. 

Thinking of adopting your own little "brownii" ? You're in luck. They're extremely easy to take care of and can handle even the brownest of  thumbs (within reason). For lighting: Anthuriums want bright, indirect light, but can do well in partial to full shade. More indirect light = more vibrant and frequent blooms. Direct sun is too harsh and will burn leaves. For watering: Water regularly, generally whenever soil is dry to the touch (not dry to the point where soil is shrinking/cracking). Anthuriums are susceptible to root rot, so be sure to not over water. For fertilizing: Anthuriums don't require a whole lot of it. But... If you want the most out of your plant, fertilize every four months with a one-quarter strength fertilizer. 

Simple Care Breakdown:

Lighting: Partial to full shade; no direct sunlight. 

Watering: Water regularly; do not overwater. Prefers consistently moist (not drenched) soil, do not let dry out completely between waterings. 

Fertilizer: Every four months, if feeling ambitious. 



Photos and story by Kenna Reed

In Bloom: Night Blooming Cereus

It’s hard to miss the three hundred meter long hedge of cacti surrounding the grounds of Honolulu's Punahou School. By day, the cacti are relatively non-descript: green and gangly, sitting on their lava rock perch.  But these aren’t just any cacti, these are Night-Blooming Cereus, Hylocereus undatus.  What most of us didn’t know, is that when the sun sets, these plants come to life.

Between the months of June and October, these summer loving superstars begin to open in the late afternoon, taking many hours to reach full bloom. Not much of a night owl? The Cereus can also be seen early in the morning till about 6 o’ clock.

image from:

image from:

If you’ve ever seen the Night Blooming Cereus, or “Queen of the Night,” in other parts of the island, chances are they’re related to those growing around the Punahou grounds.

In the late 1800s, on the ship Ivanhoe, first mate, Charles Brewer picked up a few clippings of the plant in Mexico while on his way over to Honolulu. Only a single clipping survived the journey, which was later planted and given to a woman affiliated with the school. Eventually the entire hedge was planted, becoming one of the most impressive night-blooming cacti hedges in the country.

Unfortunately, these gorgeous gems are only for looking. Taking clippings or flowers from the hedge is strictly prohibited and is an offense that is taken very Cereus-ly (tee hee). 


Fun Fact: Hylocereus undatus plants are the source of the treasured dragon fruit or 'pitaya', but the variety found at Punahou is ornamental and sadly produces no fruit. Look for the fruit producing variety of Hylocereus undatus in many Honolulu back-yards and gardens.

Photos & story by: Kenna Reed

Psycho-Tropic with Barrio Vintage

The GTO's ( the 1960's band of Frank Zappa groupies), were the psychedelic muse behind Barrio Vintage's Psycho-Tropic fashion show at The Manifest last week. Paiko, with the help of talented friends A.Wattz and Kevin Nagler, went deep into the jungle to channel the 60's Sunset Strip vibes into wild botanical ornaments, which were draped over ensembles of head to toe color and print by Barrio. Here's a glimpse of the magic of that night.

paiko awattz tillandsia
tamara rigney psychotropic
paiko awattz fashion leaves
kevin nagler leaves 2
tamara garland

Photos by Eunji Paula Kim
Story by Tamara Rigney


In the spirit of Spring music festivals, Bikini Bird is presenting BOOM & BLOOM at Paiko next week. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday look for their curated pop-up shop and Paiko workshop stations like Tillandsia Dream CatchersIndigo Elixirs Perfumery, and Hippy Floral Crowns. The finale will be on Friday night with free drinks and music by DJ Gnaraly and Sierra Blax.

paiko boom and bloom festival

Paiko Ohana: Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee Have you noticed how festive the shop has been looking this season? Meet Jordan Lee a 32-year old Oahu native (Mililani represent!) and Paiko's new Visual Merchandise Director.  To find out more about Jordan's aesthetic and creative background we chatted on Paiko's patio while we sipped steaming coffee from Brue Bar.


Tell us about your visual merchandising and creative background.

It all started when I was living in San Francisco, I was a full-time student at the Academy of Art as an Interior Architecture and Design major. My focus was commercial and hospitality design. I was working part-time as a sales associate at Diesel. Eventually, a position came up seeking a visual merchandiser so I worked my way up through the company as a full-time employee. I was also working at a boutique design firm but left during the economic recession. It was difficult design-wise to get a job and I was faced with a fork in the path. Ultimately I chose visual merchandising and from there I never looked back. I transferred to Diesel in Waikiki and then started working at Kate Spade as the Hawaii regional manager. Then, I was recruited to Louis Vuitton, Waikiki and I've been there for 2 years this month. It gives me the creative freedom by focusing on a product.

Holiday Visual Change-up

How did you and Paiko meet?

I met Tamara and Courtney by living in Kaka'ako and walking through the neighborhood. I'd bring my dogs Lola and Pfieffer around and would visit the shop. Lola is a huge fan of Tamara. Tamara is Lola's unofficial girlfriend so I guess we met through Lola! Eventually we all started running together through Ala Moana Beach Park- we do a 4 mile loop.


How would you describe the new Holiday visual change-up?

For Winter, we've taken inspiration from Tamara's Tantalus home. Basically making it lush, green, and alive. I imagine it in my head: a cloud rolling through the mountain. That feeling is kinda what we wanted to do with the Tantalus theme. For the holidays we used pops of red amongst the greenery. We brought Pele's hair and hanging plants to the outside of the shop to create a nice presentation. If you're walking across the street or pass by the store you'll see the elements of Paiko from the outside.

I love the shape of the Christmas tree and I've been told I merchandise in triangles. I was walking in Home Depot through their garden section and my boyfriend found a frame that was cone shaped. We used air plants and more of Pele's hair instead of using traditional ornaments and created a Tillandsia cone tree for the holidays. Holiday Change-up

How do you create? Do you have a vision board or any precedents that you follow? Where do you draw your inspiration?

Tamara, Courtney and I sit at our work table in Paiko and bounce ideas off of each other. Also when we're running we bounce ideas off of each other. When I'm walking through Waikiki, I look at store fronts and hotels for more inspiration. I'm inspired by everything, the littlest things, the hugest things... I've been noticing I'm inspired by reflections and light, as of this morning. Tamara herself is a HUGE inspiration, she always comes up with really good concepts. Holiday Change-up

What is your favorite piece of merchandise at Paiko?

I love Dee Oliva's animal planters. I've known her for a very long time, we went to high school together. When she was making miniature dogs, I asked her to make a mini Lola and mini Pfieffer. We placed the final pieces in a terrarium we had at my house and couldn't stop laughing. Tamara saw these mini dogs and that's when she first approached Dee for her merchandise.

I also love the Weck Jars and the shapes they come in. I love that they aren't just for flowers but for other things. They're not too modern but not too contemporary.


What are your thoughts about Paiko in the community, your neighborhood?

I'm so proud for how Paiko has taken form. It really has transformed the neighborhood. People come to Kaka'ako to see the shop. It's way bigger. Nikole Nelson really transformed the space and I'm amazed. Every time someone walks into the store, I look at their reaction. It's amazing. It's something Hawaii needed and something that's different here. I feel like people can sense that in a way.


Paiko's Holiday Changeover


What is your dream visualization for Paiko?

Tamara and I are interested in lifestyling the store. I would love to see the idea of not just having plants but making it into a sanctuary or a place to relax in. We have that with the addition of Brue. I love the idea of plants mixed in with books or something else that you can take home. Just having it be a lifestyle or mentality, a way of living...That's my dream for Paiko. All of the things that make Paiko what it is and bringing it home to wherever you live. Just like Hawaii has a magical quality about it, Paiko has it's own.


It's still not too late to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts. Swing by Paiko for unique gifts for your loved ones and pals this holiday season. We have extended holiday hours for your shopping pleasure.


Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Ohana: Ann Kadowaki


Paiko's reknowned 'haku lei master' Ann Kadowaki's holiday workshop is just around the corner and we wanted to introduce you to this busy bee! Ann invited us to her happy place at Lyons Arboretum in Manoa where she actively volunteers as the Vice President on the board. We explored the arboretum as she named off the various plants of Hawaii and chatted about her haku talents, inspiration, and future European garden travel plans --for the time being she's kind-of booked!


Born and raised on Oahu in Pauoa Valley, her inspiration is drawn from her childhood. Both sides of her family were actively involved in the local flower culture. Her dad was an orchid grower and her uncles were commercial rose farmers. In fact, her first job was on a rose farm where she cleaned and bundled the flowers. "I was horribly slow because I was so OCD about maintaining the roses. They had to be perfectly in line, no odd ones out."


Here are some questions we posed to the 'haku lei master':

When and how did haku-making become your passion? How did you become involved in the art form?

I think I always loved plants and flowers. Flowers especially. I used to make 'weed bouquets' -- little weeds that have little flowers on them. I would cluster them together in little bundles and stick them inside a rock. My Dad used to grow orchids and when they were blooming, I would collect the little buds. I used to think they looked like 'chick' heads and they were intriguing. He would spank my hand for plucking them. But I love flowers.


Where do you source your materials? What typical plants and flowers are found in your lei?

Usually my yard or my friends' yards. Sometimes I buy them locally depending on what I am making. Most of the time, my lei friends and I gather from each other's yard. A lot of us make little arrangements too in our other jobs. For Hawaiian table swags, I love to use a whole head of Ti. I love using the Song of India for its color and to brighten the piece. Also, Miniature Beef Steak leaves, given that name because they are red in color, can be included. I use Box Wood which is an ovoid type tree for filler. Depending on what I'm making, I love using different colors like reds or browns.


What is a Hawaiian table swag?

Hawaiian table swags are gigantic Haku lei, laid on the table. Normally I have this workshop at Lyon so I pick my materials here. I may have to go on some raiding sprees for my Song of India.


What type of method is used to create your Hakus?

I use a winding method. It's the easiest to teach too. I find it difficult to braid.

What began the collaboration between Paiko and you?

God, that was a funny one! We are the current lei makers at the Punahou Carnival. Previously it was the Kapuna making the lei since the 70s. I enjoy making lei, learning more techniques and meeting people. We have a network of lei Goddesses in the booth at the Carnival. One year we were talking story and there was an overwhelming amount of lei orders. Sweet young Tamara came to the booth and asked to speak to a lei maker in the back and the crew asked me, I guess because I'm the bossiest [laughs.] She explained about her workshop and her earnestness was appealing. I was so tired but I couldn't say 'No' with her 2 friends peering behind her. I gave her my email address, we corresponded and I stopped by the shop to understand. It's a charming place!


Ann teaches a lei workshop once a year at Punahou school to mothers and students. This year she brings her knowledge and enthusiasm to Paiko to teach a different type of student.

On December 16th she will be hosting our 'Holiday Table Swag' workshop where you can dress your holiday table the Hawaiian way with a lush table swag crafted from local foliages and berries. Make sure to sign up via our RSVP website or calling the shop for more details before its too late!

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Explores: Tantalus

Tanatalus Paiko founder, Tamara Rigney, invited us to explore her 'happy place' for inspiration, her little cottage hidden away in Tantalus. Originally called Pu'uohi'a, the mountain was named after the greedy Greek God Tantalus, by students of Punahou who were studying ferns in the 1840s. The God is well known for his 'eternal punishment: forever standing underneath a luscious fruit tree, full of bountiful fruit, forever out of his reach.'  Fortunately for us, the infinite amount of botanical treasures welcomes explorers to an enchanting magical forest.

Tamara guided us along the muddy, yet easy trails beneath canopies of Cook Pines, Areca palms, and beautiful Banyan trees. We kept our eyes open for strawberry guava, avocado, and orange trees. She paused every so often to point out different textures and contrasting colors popping out from mystical spots. We really felt like we were in the Secret Garden! Tamara told us of the African tulip, a bold tree sprouting blossoms of oranges and reds, an invasive species that entertained her as a child. 'My friends and I would take the flower pods and race them down the gutters when it rained. It was one of our favorite games.'

Rachel and Tamara

Where do you normally find your inspiration? Is it ever-changing depending on where you are located?

I get inspired by everything- everything I'm seeing or doing somehow comes into play when I generate ideas. Lately, I've been spending lots of time at my house up here, and that's been influencing my aesthetic. Travel is also very important to me.  Given that in Hawaii we’re out here in the middle of the ocean, it's important to go find new experiences and bring that energy home.

Carpet Moss

What elements of Tantalus are currently placed into Paiko? What characteristics of Tantalus are you looking forward to incorporating into the shop?

We’re incorporating lots of different jungle textures and foliages into our winter look. Vines, mosses and lichens are going to be major elements.

Rachel amongst Heliconia

What are the consistent botanical themes that you continue to place into Paiko?

‘Tropical Modern’ is the name I give to the general aesthetic at Paiko.


What is your dream shop design and layout?

After our latest remodel this year, designed by Nikole Nelson of BlkCoral, Paiko is pretty much my ‘dream shop’. I seriously can’t believe how polished and beautiful it turned out.  We have a few things to finish up, but by and large the shop is almost perfect. I love going to work every day, especially now that I get coffee handed to me when I walk through the door from Brue!

Therapists and people in general believe it's not good 'chi' to bring their 'office' into their 'home' life, how do you feel about this?

I do try to leave the office out of my home life, but I constantly bring my home life to the office. I live an amazing lifestyle up here in the jungle, and it's a major part of what Paiko represents.

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014